Hamburg – Hamburger Kunsthalle (Forgery by Óscar Domínguez)

The gallery has now made a little exhibit about this painting, which is a forgery that they managed to accidentally buy. I suppose it’s easier for galleries to do this in retrospect, they can blame a previous curator more easily…

The gallery purchased this painting in 1957, which was meant to be ‘Mystery and Melancholy of a Street’ by Giorgio de Chirico. Now, this shouldn’t have been too difficult, as de Chirico (1888-1978) was still alive, but there was a little problem and that was that he had seemingly got a bit confused. This had led to him painting artworks and dating them incorrectly to a previous date, as well as declaring perfectly authentic works as fakes. Anyway, he declared this painting as fake in 1970, which I can imagine moderately irritated the curators.

On this occasion though, he was correct, he hadn’t painted it. Someone called Óscar Domínguez had faked it, but that was only discovered after the gallery had conducted numerous tests. Perhaps those tests might have been better before they bought it, but I imagine scientific advances made that much easier in the 1980s. Anyway, now the gallery has a different story to tell, which is that through careful analysis they are able to prove that some works are fakes and not as they might seem. And since every artwork has a story, this made this perhaps more interesting than it would have been if de Chirico had actually painted it.